History of the department

UWL Theatre Program Named Best in Wisconsin!

Click the link above to read about OnStage Blog choosing UWL as
one of the best theatre programs in the United States.  The listing of
all 50 programs can be found here.

Ticketing Information for the 2021-2022 Season

The Department of Theatre Arts will not be offering season ticket packages this year out of caution of the university having to shut down due to COVID-19.  Due to a technical issue with our new online ticketing system (AudienceView), patrons will not be able to purchase tickets online for Severe Clear or Love/Sick.  Tickets may be purchase via the phone (608-785-6696) or in person (Center for the Arts Box Office) beginning the Monday prior to opening night for each production.

Marie Toland and Robert FrederickIn 1909, before there was a major in Theatre Arts, Dr. David Coate, professor of English, sponsored the campus dramatic group, The Buskin Dramatic Club. Their first performance was The Christmas Chime and was held three years later. Shortly thereafter the club disbanded.
Drama at UWL was on hold for a few years until the Speech Department sponsored a new dramatic club in 1937. The driving force behind this new group was Marie Park Toland, director of theatre. Dr. Toland was joined by Robert Frederick in 1946, and together they built the foundations or "the first act" of theatre for UWL.  

Their invaluable contributions to the program led to the creation of an academic major in Speech beginning in 1968. Both Toland and Frederick have theatres named in their honor. Twelve years later UWL finally created an official major in Theatre Arts. Dr. Robert Joyce and Dr. Richard Tinapp took their initial offering and trained many theatre students, practitioners, and lovers of the art. Their blood, sweat, and passion laid the groundwork for what has become a vibrant, vital force within the region.

Today's Department of Theatre Arts has come a long way from its' meek beginnings in 1909. In 1997 Theatre split from Speech and the Department of Theatre Arts was created. The new major has five emphases including General Theatre, Performance, Design/Tech, Musical Theatre, and Theatre Management. Students from any major can minor in Theatre Arts with the same emphasis areas. From its' early beginnings, theatre arts today has over 60 majors and 30 minors with academic and artistic credentials equal or better than any undergraduate program in the country.

Along with a full palette of academic classes, the Department of Theatre Arts produces seven productions a year including a yearly children's show and an annual SummerStage musical with auditions open to the entire community. The future of Theatre at UWL is stronger than at any other point in its history. The growth of the department, the strength of the faculty, the excellence of its students, and the award-winning program are leading us to the next level. Along with support from the campus and from the community, this program is poised to become a leader in theatre training in the region and throughout the Midwest.

Alumni/Student Spotlight

Calahan Skogman Headshot

Calahan Skogman

Theatre Performance, Class of 2016
Matthias, Shadow and Bone (Netflix)




"Among the many seasons in my journey as an actor, my time spent with UWL Theatre was not only the most special, but the most important. The program offered me incredible opportunities and instilled in me a profound belief in myself as a young artist. It was there that I was fostered by my first theatrical family, and I am forever grateful."